Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “People who have a stake in their society, protect that society, but when they don’t have it, they unconsciously want to destroy it.” That statement resonated and inspired singer-songwriter and activist Aurora Barnes to start the GirlsTalk/GuysTalk program; “Dr. King’s quote clarified, for me, the kind of work I was doing with my students. I developed GirlsTalk/GuysTalk to encourage youth to have a stake in themselves.”
What began as an after-school program out of the Future Leaders Institute in Harlem, has expanded into an upcoming partnership with The Gathering for Justice, founded by Harry Belafonte in 2005. GirlsTalk/GuysTalk will be integrated into The Gathering For Justice’s Youth Empowerment Project, which provides workshops and programming for incarcerated youth.The goal of GirlsTalk/GuysTalk is to teach students they have choices and to help cultivate well-rounded, confident, young men and women who will choose to invest in themselves, while making positive contributions in their communities. Students, from 11-21 years of age, participate in various workshops and activities focusing on social awareness, health consciousness, healthy relationships, and positive self-esteem. “I am thrilled to partner with The Gathering. We have this radical idea that the voices of youth should be given a platform and we are here to provide as many resources and opportunities as possible. I want my kids to feel the power in their choices. I don’t think it’s naïve to say that by partnering with The Gathering for Justice, we have the potential to change the face of education.” said Ms. Barnes.
Coming-out party to officially introduce the programming of GirlsTalk/GuysTalk to the greater community is Friday, June 20th at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10037 (b/w 135th and 136th Streets)